Jas. Townsend and Son Website Newsletter
New Products - Chocolate Pot and Brass Scales
Ok, so here’s some good news for you. Whatayaknow! The network news reports now say that chocolate’s good for you!
Did you know that despite its sweet reputation, some studies suggest that cocoa has a low glycemic index? In other words, kind of like oatmeal, it doesn’t send your sugar levels spiking. Hmm…what shall I have for breakfast today? Oatmeal or chocolate? Oatmeal, or CHOCOLATE?
Likewise, cocoa is full of antioxidants, and vital minerals like copper, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. So be warned next time you try to smuggle a candy bar through an airport metal detector! And it has this compound in it called Phenylthyamine, which triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, helping you feel better about all the other bad stuff you hear in the news. Life’s not so bad as long as you have chocolate, eh?!
But is this latest news flash on chocolate really all that new? How about a little historical perspective on the topic. Let’s start by seeing what 17th-century physician, William Hughes, had to say about the toothsome treat:
“Chocolate nourishes and preserves health entirely, yet causes a pleasant and natural sleep and rest. Drunk twice a day, a man may very well subsist therewith, not taking anything else at all.”
Or how about Quincy’s Medical Depository of 1782:
“It must be good likewise not only in all intentions as a nourisher, and a restorative, but as an emollient, by lubricating and relaxing the passages.”
Um…what kind of chocolate did you put in those brownies, Dr. Quincy?”
And while other television news reports bombard us with calls for change on the political landscape, let’s look at what one of the greatest politicians and prognosticators, Thomas Jefferson, had to say regarding the ever-so-humble cocoa bean:
“The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.”
Is it any wonder that, in 1753, Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus, officially named the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, which translated from Latin means, “Food of the gods”?
While sailors had for years smuggled the tasty treat ashore to the colonies from Jamaica and Cuba, some say chocolate wasn’t officially introduced to the colonies until 1765. That’s when British state commissioner, John Hannon, and medical doctor, James Baker, built the first chocolate factory in Massachusetts. Even so, chocolate tended to be an aristocratic food. While it was very popular in colonial America, it was a fairly rare treat for the average man.
Throughout the 18th century, chocolate was primarily either a drink or an ingredient in other foods. Cakes of sweetened cocoa were eventually developed by some physicians and pharmacologists to make it easier to use. It wasn’t until 1847, when descendents of the Quaker Chocolatier, Joseph Fry, figured out how to separate cocoa butter from the cocoa bean, that the chocolate bar was finally born. Wait a second, I’m confused. I thought the Quakers did oatmeal?
And so, chocolate lives on! And that’s why Jas. Townsend & Son now celebrates this nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and LUBRICATING treat by introducing a new piece to the pottery line, a redware chocolate pot! Adapted from a specimen seen in a painting by Rococo artist, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, c. 1760, this redware pot is perfect for making piping hot chocolate.
This chocolate pot measures approximately 7-1/2” high and is about 4” in diameter at the base. It’s lined with clear, lead-free food-safe glaze. The pot will hold up to about 3 cups. Intended to be used over a low fire or hot coals, I’ve tested this thing on a gas range top over low heat (which I can’t really recommend for normal use) and it held up fine. The key is that you only put the pot over your heat source while it has liquid in it. Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a 12” wooden milling stick (known as a “molinillo” to the Spanish and a “moussoir” to the French). You use the milling stick as a blender to make your chocolate frothy by spinning it between the palms of your hands. Initial supplies of this chocolate pot are limited, but we’ll be making more.
One more word about the care of redware pottery: This redware Chocolate Pot can be washed in the dishwasher. We recommend, however, that caution be used regarding its use in a microwave oven. This chocolate pot is made of low-fire clay, meaning the unglazed portion of the clay body remains porous and absorbent. It could be prone to cracking or becoming extremely hot if used in a microwave. And as stated above, do not leave your empty pot over your heat source as cracking may occur due to overheating. Hand wash your milling stick.
Jas. Townsend also sells cakes of sweetened cocoa, called “El Popular” Chocolate (item # CH-952) for $3.00 per 7.5 oz. bar. But if while in character, you simply can’t afford chocolate, you can use your chocolate pot to make a stiff cup of coffee.
VIVA LA CHOCOLATE!
www.allchocolate.com, www.westhillsfriends.org, www.barry-callebaut.com, www.abcgallery.com/C/chardin/chardin42.html
Recipe for Hot Chocolate, using El Popular Chocolate
Place 1 to 3 cups of milk into the chocolate pot and set over coals or a low fire. Shave or grate El Popular Chocolate, one square per cup of liquid used, and set aside. Once the milk reaches a good simmer, remove the pot from the fire and add the shaved chocolate to the milk. Spinning the milling stick between the palms of your hands, mill the mixture until thoroughly blended. Serve.
New Small Brass Scales
No purveyor of the medical arts or merchant of fine trinkets should go without his brass balance scales. This little tool of the trade come complete with balance and weights (10g, 5g, 2g (2ea), 1g, 200mg, 100mg, 50mg, 20mg, 10mg, and 5mg). Closes up into an attractive 7.25” x 4” x 1” velour-covered box, easily transportable in one’s pocket or pouch.
“El Popular” Chocolate CH-952
Redware Chocolate Pot
Small Brass Scales S-3280
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